It’s an interesting situation, isn’t it? Getting paid is, if nothing else, the most obvious inevitable outcome of working. There’s not a job seeker alive who isn’t interested in earning an income. So why is the topic of compensation such a difficult one to address?

It goes without saying that boldly asking “How much will I be paid?” isn’t exactly the most professional approach. However, many industry experts agree that compensation should be discussed before you interview. You are, after all, entitled to knowing what type of income you’ll be earning should you accept an offer. But what is the best way to go about asking about your pay?

Approach the subject politely.

In some cases, you may only be interested in a job because of salary alone. While it’s never appropriate to be overly blunt or curt during your discussions with a potential employer, don’t hesitate to inquire about salary upfront, whether on the phone or in an email. However, if you sincerely wish to work for a company for more than just what it will pay you, attempt to discuss the subject in person.

On Forbes.com, Amy Morin suggests that when you are contacted for an interview, you respond by saying, “I want to be respectful of your time. There’s a specific salary range I’m looking for. Can we talk about that up front?” It’s always better to get to know your potential employer in person. The same goes for him/her. Your glowing personality will have a huge impact on whether or not you land the position you’ve applied for.

Do your research.

It’s only right you understand what professionals in your field are being compensated at. It’s important to not only research company standards, but consider your own experience and expertise as well. In other words, know your worth. Your salary requests should be reflective of what you bring to the table. An employer should feel comfortable your talents are worth the salary you feel you deserve.

“Before you share your salary expectations with an employer, think holistically about what you’re earning presently, including salary, bonuses and benefits,” advises Indeed.com, “Then, use the research you’ve done to set a realistic target for what kind of compensation you want in your next job. What base salary are you looking for? Which benefits do you value the most? What other perks interest you?”

Provide a preferred range.

It’s best to not go in with a hard request. “I’m looking to make $70,000 annually” isn’t the best version of a salary request out there. Instead, utilize the research you’ve conducted and consider a reasonable salary range within which you’d be comfortable getting paid. You never know. You may end up receiving an offer that provides you with a salary on the higher end.

Indeed.com suggests less experienced candidates try such requests as “I understand from my research and experience that low 50s to mid-60s is the competitive range for this role in this industry and city.” More experienced candidates should try “Based on my experience in this field and my research on the current market, I understand that mid 70 to low 90s is a competitive range.”